Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bee snobbery

Whats the buzz?? I tell people that I don't bother to cover blooms after they have been pollinated. Why not? Because I have observed Bees working around me as I pollinate the roses and I have noticed the same behavior over and over again: Bees won't visit a bloom that has had its anthers removed! So I would suggest you spare yourself the trouble of covering pollinated blooms to prevent Bees from randomly dropping unwanted pollen on your blooms. The likelihood of this happening appears to be very, very slight. (You still might want to cover blooms if you expect rain to wash off your pollen, of course)


  1. Out here, the cross-pollination problem isn't bees, it's the wind. The wind out here is -constant- and often strong. So, I cover my pollinated hips with little blue-shop-towel hats. Oh well, helps me find the pollinated hips later on, and seeing a garden full of little blue hats gives me a sense of accomplishment! :D

  2. The honey bees here don't seem to be the problem... it's the little black native bees that are the issue. They will almost steal pollen as you apply it and build so much pollen up on their little legs they look like they are wearing pantaloons! I've been using little organzer gift bags with draw strings so the little bees are kept out and the wind, which also blows constantly here too, can't deliver any pollen either. I only leave them on for about 4-5 days though. After that the stigma are no longer receptive so I can removed the bags, wash them and use them elsewhere.

  3. I guess it depends where you live and what the fauna behaves like. For me, these things aren't an issue, fortunately. As far as I know, rose pollen isn't going to travel by wind; its too heavy and sticky and meant to be carried by insects. At least thats what I've been led to believe.

  4. In most cases I would have to agree that it is too heavy, but Fara-shimbo and me live right off the foothills. If the wind is coming fom the right direction it certainly is like a bat out of hell. But I figure if I pollinate them the percentage of seed that is from my crosses will be alot more than what is possiable from any stray. My problem has been the wind trying to blow my carefully prepared pollen away.

  5. I reckon that explains why I see so few OP hips on my 'Scabrosa' then, despite the little native bees loving it (you can see some of these little bees on my photo of 'Scabrosa' on HMF).. It's planted among lots and lots of roses but it only formed one OP hip this year. Must be due to the heavy pollen not travelling in the wind (despite it being so strong here... we live in the path of the roaring 40's) as you say Paul.

  6. The wind here is really something else... it regularly blows off roofs and knocks over semi trucks. I once saw a 145 mph gust knock a 17hh Thoroughbred Hunter off his feet (he was really impressed!).

    Those tiny little black things, I think, are wasps, not bees. And they are -very- nasty! They'll sting you, kick you in the gut and then smack you around the block a few times for good measure.

    Something else I've remembered, now that I'm collecting lots of R. woodsii ultramontana pollen, is that the native pollens are much smaller than, say HT pollen. A container of HT pollen is slightly gritty, but a container of Rwu pollen is a fine, fine powder.

    Oh well, I'm not worrying about it now anyway since R.w.u. is the only thing blooming yet. Rosa foedita persica will be next.


    I wonder....